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Editorial: Thumbs up to promising high school grads, a nifty nurse, torch bearers and amazing athletes

THUMBS UP: When seniors from Winters Mill and Manchester Valley high schools walk across the McDaniel College stage Saturday, June 9, during commencement ceremonies for their schools, it will mark the end of another graduation season and will mean some 2,000 Carroll County students have reached an important milestone in their lives.

We hope they took in the pomp and circumstance, paid attention to the speakers, reflected on their high school careers and enjoyed themselves. We have no doubt they will help make our community, and the world, a better place based on the sample of grads we hope you’ve been reading about over the past 10 days. In our graduation profiles, we met artists and athletes and thespians and farmers and young entrepreneurs — excellent students, all — from a variety of backgrounds. One began at a different school and overcame significant obstacles to make it to that stage for graduation. Another was born in a foreign country and couldn’t even speak English when he started high school. The graduates we profiled are headed to college or the work force or the military, planning on becoming everything from a nurse to an engineer to a farm owner to a fighter pilot. We wish all of the graduates the best of luck in their promising futures.

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Carroll's Law Enforcement Torch Run featured the most Special Olympians to date for the annual fundraiser.

THUMBS UP: Law enforcement agencies from throughout Carroll County came together on Wednesday for a Law Enforcement Torch Run to support the Special Olympics Maryland Summer Games. Officers and Special Olympics athletes carried the flame on a route that culminated at Westminster City Hall. A record 16 Special Olympics athletes participated in Carroll’s part of the event, which started in 1986, Westminster’s Police Department Chief Jeff Spaulding told us. The participant turnout was also landmark as a record 130 walkers came out for the Torch Run Trek — a 3-mile walking leg of the event that departed from the Carroll County Farm Museum to McDaniel College. Brandon McLaird, an athlete who has been participating in Special Olympics for about six years, spoke about the effect the Games have had on him. He said Special Olympics allows him to compete in basketball games “on the terms that I can play them.” It’s not just about competition. “Without Special Olympics, I wouldn’t know the people I’ve connected with … and the bonds that have been made,” he told us. It’s a great event and we’re encouraged that so many law enforcement officers, athletes and participants came out for the torch run to show support.

“I truly do feel I was meant to be a nurse,” Carroll Hospital Nurse Kelly Roemer said of her choice of profession. “I have a passion for just caring for other people.”

THUMBS UP: A dedicated employee of more than 25 years who cares for patients before and after surgery as well as managing a nursing unit, Kelly Roemer was named Carroll Hospital’s Nurse of the Year recently at the hospital’s annual Best of the Best Banquet. The honor came as a surprise. “When I stood at the podium and turned around, my entire family was at the back of the room, so they had known in advance that I was receiving this award, but I had no idea,” Roemer told us. “The room was filled with wonderful nurses that contribute so much to the hospital, and I was just so surprised, very honored, very humbled.” Clearly, to those who work with her, she is one of the most wonderful. Stephanie Reid, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, served on the selection committee and called Roemer a role model. “She is probably one of the most caring and compassionate nurses I have ever worked with in my 40-year career,” Reid said. “She really is just an incredible nurse.” Now she has an award to prove it, but we’re certain her colleagues and patients have known that for a long time.”

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Century's Nathanael Hibbs, Ethan Kiple, Jeremy Lapp, and Michael Marrale are playing in the 2018 Brooks Robinson All-Star Game on June 17, 2018 as members of the North Team.

THUMBS UP: Another high school sports season came to a close when Century High School captured the first baseball state championship in its school’s history on May 26 at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, just a few hours after South Carroll senior Allie Zolkiewicz won an individual state title at Morgan State University in the 800-meter run. Congratulations to all the high school athletes, particularly to those who just wrapped stellar seasons. We’ll learn a lot more about eight of them over the next week, beginning Sunday, June 10, when our sports department profiles an Athlete of the Year from each sport and names the Times’ spring all-county teams. Then, on Tuesday, June 26, at our annual High School Athlete of the Year Awards banquet, we’ll honor the best of the best in county sports and we’ll name Carroll’s top male athlete, top female athlete and top coach for the 2017-18 school year. It promises to be a fabulous celebration of high school sports.

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